I’ve been having a hard time lately. Somehow, the mean voice that I’d managed to keep at the margins has again taken control. Everyone has a version of this. Mine says: “You’re never going to finish that. You’re no good. Why bother?” After years of developing the nice, confident me, I’m left wondering what happened, what’s different, what little thing made the “good” me retreat? Nothing is different except my perception of things and I’m still getting to the bottom of how and why that happened. A couple of days ago, unable to stand my apathy (and TMJ) any longer, I forced myself to “Make Good Art” as Neil Gaiman so eloquently put it. Now, I have to admit that I had to modify this to simply, “Make Art” because the prospect of trying to make it good was part of the problem to begin with.
Then, yesterday, someone I love, trust and respect reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s mountain (same speech, see link above), where he envisions his goal as a distant mountain and makes sure that the things he takes on bring him closer to his destination. It’s a simple enough concept and it was an effective reminder (thank you The Not Me).
I’ve been slowly heading towards my mountain, trying not to listen to the nasty voice pointing out that I’m moving at a crawl (sometimes), or that it seems I’m at a standstill (no one ever is) or how many people have already overtaken me. I’m trying to remember that it’s my mountain. It’s not included in anyone else’s GPS. It’s my journey. No one is moving faster than I am to reach my goal. I make the rules and I’m perfectly sure that rests are allowed–are built-in, even. Naps are helpful.
It does not escape me that viewed sequentially the images above look a lot like hand-wringing. I hope to learn to be OK with that. I can hold it all in, be anxious and deal with lock-jaw, or I can breathe, wring my hands for a bit and then make art. Put that way, the choice seems easy. I’ll make art–I’ll draw, maybe dance, and, hopefully, eventually, I’ll write–and because I’m afraid of my own words right now, I’ll borrow Neil’s and “make it on the bad days and make it on the good days, too” and I will certainly make my art while I stroll or race toward my mountain.